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Vigdís Prize for Women's Empowerment

Vigdís Prize for Women's Empowerment: call for nominations

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), in partnership with the Government of Iceland, has issued a call for nominations for the first ever edition of the Vigdís Prize for Women's Empowerment. A joint initiative of the Icelandic Government and PACE, the Prize pays tribute to former Icelandic President Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, the first woman in the world to be elected as a Head of State.

The 60,000-euro annual prize rewards outstanding initiatives which promote the empowerment of women in all their diversity, with a broad remit covering achievements in gender equality or equal participation in and access to decision-making, as well as action to encourage inclusive policies and practice. Eligible candidates can be individuals or civil society groups. The prize will be presented during each June part-session of the Parliamentary Assembly.

At a special event during the PACE Standing Committee, organised in Vaduz on 28 November 2023 in the framework of Liechtenstein’s Presidency of the Committee of Ministers, Assembly President Tiny Kox said “we are progressing towards a world where women leaders will no longer be an exception, or even a minority, and for that we can be eternally grateful to women like Vigdís”. She and others, he added, have “shattered the glass ceilings in all parts of society, in all of our member States and partner countries, and have paved the way for the gender equality which must be at the heart of genuine democracy”.

“Vigdís Finnbogadóttir is a national treasure in Iceland so whenever she and her legacy is rewarded, we all feel extremely proud,” underlined Rósa Björk Brynjólfsdóttir, member of the Office of the Prime Minister of Iceland and member of the Selection Panel of the Prize. “Vigdís is the role model for a whole generation, my generation, and her influence is still great as she continues to be an important figure and presence in Iceland for future generations. Her election set our country on the path we have followed ever since, committed to the fight for gender equality and always striving to use our voice to advance the cause internationally.”

The deadline for submitting nominations is 15 February 2024. They should be sent to the Parliamentary Assembly by e-mail: [email protected], using the form available on the Prize web page. They should be signed by at least five sponsors and submitted in either English or French.

For further information, please contact the PACE Secretariat:

Penelope Denu, tel. +33 3 88 32 15, [email protected], and Greta Faggiani, tel. +33 3 90 41 43 08, [email protected]

Who can be nominated?

Individuals or civil society groups, including national or international non-governmental organisations, associations and private companies may be nominated for the Prize.

How to apply?

Having read the full regulations, download and fill in the nomination form below in English or French, giving details of the nominee and their actions, and naming at least five sponsors.

This, together with any supporting documents, should be sent by e-mail to [email protected] by 15 February 2024 at the latest. Receipt of all submissions will be acknowledged.

Draft Timetable for 2024

  • 28 November 2023: Call for candidates
  • 15 February 2024: Deadline for reception of candidatures
  • Spring 2024: First meeting of the Selection Panel in Reykjavik
  • 23 May 2024: Meeting of the Bureau of the Assembly which will take note of the three shortlisted candidates
  • 23 June 2024: Second meeting of the Selection Panel in Strasbourg which will select the prize-winner
  • 24 June 2024: Award Ceremony in the Council of Europe

The Selection Panel

The Selection Panel, chaired by the President of the Assembly or a person designated by them, is composed of six independent members with recognised standing in the field of women’s empowerment.

Three members of the Selection Panel are nominated by the Bureau of the Assembly, upon the proposal of the Assembly’s Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination, and three are nominated by the Government of Iceland.

Members of the Selection Panel are appointed for a two-year period, renewable twice. Current members of the Assembly cannot be members of the Selection Panel.

The Panel is chaired by the President of the Assembly.

Members appointed by the Bureau of the Assembly (October 2023 – October 2025):

  • Robert Biedroń (Poland), President of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality, European Parliament
  • Sandra Konstatzky (Austria), Head of the Austrian Ombud for Equal Treatment
  • Iris Luarasi (Albania), former President of the Group of Experts on action against violence against women and domestic violence (GREVIO)

Members appointed by the Government of Iceland (October 2023 – October 2025):

  • Rósa Björk Brynjólfsdóttir (Iceland), Advisor on International Affairs to the Prime Minister of Iceland, former member of the Althingi
  • Sanam Naraghi Anderlini (Iran/United Kingdom), CEO and founder of the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN) and former chair of LSE Center for Women, Peace and Security
  • Dr Finnborg Salome Steinþórsdóttir (Iceland), Post-doctoral researcher and Sessional lecturer in Gender studies, School of Social Sciences, University of Iceland

The Award Ceremony

The Prize is awarded at a ceremony which takes place in Strasbourg on the Monday of the Summer Session of the Parliamentary Assembly, usually in late June.

The name of the prize-winner is announced by the President of the Parliamentary Assembly.